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Mets jump in on Lorenzo Cain sweepstakes

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Lorenzo Cain
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Lorenzo Cain

Mets have been linked to Cain who has been highly productive over the last several years with Kansas City

If there’s one thing to be said, the New York Mets are at least inquiring about some higher marquee free agents. It’s reported that on top of the Mets being interested in Carlos Santana, they are also looking at outfielder, Lorenzo Cain.

Cain has been a fixture in the Royals’ outfield for the last half decade. Last season, Cain appeared in 155 games and hit .300 for the third time in the last four years. He hit 15 homers, drove in 49 runs, and scored 86. Cain also had his most efficient year on the base paths. He stole 26 bases in 28 attempts, a microcosm of his career track. Cain has been successful in 83.5 percent of his stolen base tries in his career.

The interesting part of this bit of news is the timing. On Monday, Sandy Alderson said Juan Lagares is figuring into the team’s plan for 2018. Lagares is a gold glove caliber centerfielder and he won that award in 2014. Injuries since have robbed him of more potential defensive awards. In 2017, Lagares was third in the majors in defensive runs above average and defensive runs saved but he only played 94 games.

One of the things Cain brings that the Mets lack is a big threat in stolen bases. The Mets are very thin in that department, ranking 27th in steals in ’17. Jose Reyes, who is a free agent, accounted for 41 percent of the team’s steals (24-of-58). Cain has swiped at least 24 bags in three of the last four years.

The question then becomes how the rest of the outfield will play out. Cain and Yoenis Cespedes would be solidified as everyday starters. If Lagares is still factoring into 2018 then that leaves less playing time for Michael Conforto who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Conforto targeted a return by the beginning of March.

Signing Cain would also relegate Brandon Nimmo to being a fifth outfielder or starting the year in Las Vegas. 2018 is the last option year for Nimmo. There are a few things to play out that would surround Cain coming to New York.

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One thing’s for sure: Cain offers a speed element the Mets don’t possess and a consistent hitter at the top of the lineup if the Mets were to somehow win the bidding war for him.